Is April Fools’ Day Worth the Risk for Brands?


Three hundred sixty-four days a 12 months, manufacturers work onerous creating content material to construct and strengthen belief with their audiences.

But on a single day in April, many manufacturers droop these trust-building efforts and throw them out the window by publishing content material intentionally meant to idiot (or worse, make fools of) their audiences.

Yes, it’s time to usher in April’s annual day of pranking.

It’s a tempting conundrum for content material entrepreneurs. To earn a repute for high quality content material, you’re taught to keep away from spammy clickbait headlines or gross sales pitches thinly disguised as content material. But April 1 seemingly provides you a purpose to interrupt the guidelines – deceiving your audiences by crafting faux content material, writing absurd headlines, and even selling fake merchandise.

Is celebrating April Fools’ Day a good suggestion for content material entrepreneurs?

Probably not.

If your model has by no means used humor or the component of shock in its content material, April 1 will not be the time to start out.

If your model has by no means used humor in its #content material, April 1 will not be the time to start out. @AnnGynn Click To Tweet

If your model thinks of April Fools’ as a one-day joke, don’t do it.

If your model isn’t ready to dedicate important assets to develop a considerate, well-executed marketing campaign, don’t do it.

If your model leaders can’t climate criticism, don’t do it.

If, in spite of everything these caveats, you assume April Fools’ matches along with your model, learn on for some inspiration. And in the event you acknowledge April 1 isn’t a day for your model to have fun, learn on for some common classes to make use of all 365 days of the 12 months.

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Integrate into your model

Burger King ceaselessly makes use of humor in its content material. “BK is hilarious on Twitter,” writes Lindsay Welgarz in The Most Genius Tweets from Burger King’s Twitter Account.

The firm advised USA Today earlier this 12 months: “We like to playfully joke around with what the Internet and news outlets are saying, but never to be mean spirited.”

That strategy to humor maybe is why April 1 is completely circled on its inventive calendar. The model traditionally launched “new” merchandise on the day, together with the Left-Handed Whopper (redesigned by shifting condiments 180 levels) and the Chocolate Whopper.

“April Fools’ has become a major date for Burger King and our campaigns have generated massive engagement with a younger, and often harder to reach, audience,” stated Fernando Machado, Burger King world chief advertising and marketing officer, in the latest announcement.

While we don’t but know what’s in retailer for this 12 months’s prank, subsequent 12 months’s April 1 celebration might come from a scholar. Given that Burger King’s April 1 product releases entice a younger viewers, the model strengthened that viewers connection by partnering with the Clio Awards for the King’s Fools’ Challenge. The winner of the Clio’s 2019 Student Integrated Campaign class will turn into an honorary inventive director at Burger King and might be tasked with bringing its caper for 2020 to life.

“We thought this would be a great way to challenge up-and-coming creatives to show us how they would cut through the noise and hijack popular culture with the ultimate prank,” Fernando stated.

Lessons realized:

  • If humor is acceptable in the future a 12 months, it must be a part of your model voice all through the 12 months.
  • Think about how you should use a seemingly one-time encounter as a kickoff to a long-term relationship along with your new viewers.

If humor is acceptable in the future a 12 months, it must be a part of your model voice 365 days a 12 months. @AnnGynn Click To Tweet

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Create distinct however associated content material

While Burger King makes use of April 1 to launch “new” merchandise, Rent the Runway used the day to launch a “new” service, which Patrick Burke, chief advertising and marketing officer at Grapevine, shared with us.

“The most believable April Fool’s jokes often come in the form of e-commerce landing pages for gag products,” stated Patrick. “This approach is your best bet if your main goal is media mentions or links since it gives journalists a perfect place to send their readers.”

The most plausible #AprilFool’s jokes are e-commerce touchdown pages for gag merchandise. @Patrick_H_Burke Click To Tweet

As he explains, greater than 54 websites, together with the Associated Press, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and Time picked up the Rent the Runway for Dogs information in 2018. And the prank continues right now as the touchdown web page stays – and you’ll nonetheless signal as much as categorical curiosity in renting canine garments.

Lessons realized:

  • Use your content material to garner media consideration. If your content material is recent, distinctive, and helpful, media and different websites usually tend to speak about it.
  • Use April 1 as a time to check viewers response to merchandise or service that appear outlandish.
  • Use a separate touchdown web page for your content material – don’t combine truth and fiction on the similar web page.

Don’t disrupt operate

PR professional Karen Jayne Blattenbauer reminds us of a silly Google fail from a couple of years in the past. On April 1, 2016, Google added a brand new characteristic to Gmail – an orange button subsequent to the commonplace “send” button. A click on on that orange button led to the supply of the e-mail with a GIF of a bit yellow Minion character dropping a microphone. And the enjoyable didn’t cease there. The mic drop ended the dialog, stopping the sender from seeing subsequent replies.

As this Fortune article particulars, the mic drop prank prompted shoppers to bombard Google’s product boards and social media pages with complaints. Ultimately, Google’s Crystal Cee wrote in a discussion board thread, “Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry.”

Lessons realized:

  • Don’t develop a promotion that disrupts your viewers’s use of your services or products.
  • Vet your thought with a number of stakeholders. A inventive workforce member might imagine an thought is nice, whereas the buyer might not. Talk to individuals in non-creative departments to see what they assume.

Don’t develop a promotion that disrupts your viewers’s use of your services or products. @AnnGynn #AprilFools Click To Tweet

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Harness the attraction of a right away reveal

Liam Carnahan, director of content material at Croud, and founder and chief editor at Invisible Ink Editing, says NPR’s finest April Fools’ joke got here in 2014, when it promoted an article, “Why Don’t Americans Read Anymore?”

Those who took the time to click on on it had been greeted by this:

The hyperlink promotion was a enjoyable check to see if the curious in NPR’s viewers actually learn the article or in the event that they merely reshared the hyperlink. (Perhaps all content material entrepreneurs ought to do that one any time of the 12 months.)

Lessons realized:

  • Make the content material related and fulfill the viewers’s curiosity rapidly.
  • Invite your viewers inside your humorous content material efforts and enlist their assist in spreading the enjoyable on social media.

Think once more

But wait, there’s extra. In a latest Biznology article, Consultants Collective’s Douglas Spencer shared some nice inquiries to ask earlier than your model considers participating in any content-related acts of April foolery:

  • How will opponents react? Are they a hungry canine simply ready for you to carry out a juicy bone in the type of self-mockery?
  • The media? You’ll most probably get some kind of a move since it’s April Fool’s Day in spite of everything, however don’t assume you’ll get a get-out-of-jail-free card – particularly in the event you’re a publicly traded firm and also you joke about solvency.
  • Employees? If you’ve been mild on raises in the final couple of years, finest to not drop a ton of cash on a slick April Fool’s advert except you may show it’s good for your backside line.

Is your model celebrating April Fools’ Day? Have you seen some wins and fails right now? Please share in the feedback.

Have enjoyable with none pranks at Content Marketing World this September. Register right now utilizing code BLOG100 to save lots of $100. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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